Attorney: 'Precipitous decline' in union cards bolstered Leslie Smith's labor complaint vs. UFC

When the UFC essentially bought out Leslie Smith’s contract, Project Spearhead took a hit. The organization’s adivsor has made sure to point that out to the federal agency hearing the fighter’s labor complaint.

Project Spearhead advisor Lucas Middlebrook told MMAjunkie Radio there was a “precipitous decline” in union authorization cards collected by the organization after Smith’s UFC departure. He said several confidential witnesses stepped forward to testify “that the fear increased and the people retreated after they did what they did to Leslie.”

Middlebrook said Smith’s complaint with the National Relations Board is an inevitable response to a bullying tactic by the UFC.

“There was no other choice but for Leslie to file this charge, in order to show the rest of the fighters what they did is illegal,” he said. “And they’re not going to do it to you, because they did it to me, and I’m going to fight back. I’m going to show that it’s illegal, and there’s a federal agency here that’s designed to protect you.”

Recently, Smith and Middlebrook received a one-two of good and bad news from that agency. The regional NLRB office that received Smith’s complaint found merit in her allegation that the UFC engaged in retaliatory action against her attempts to organize fighters, only to be overruled by the national office, which said it needed to evaluate the case before proceeding.

Middlebrook said the turn of events was unusual because plaintiffs are usually given notice when a regional NLRB office needs advisement from the national office. In this case, he and Smith found out after news of their victory had broken.

“We received a phone call saying this case has been decided on the merit determination, and only later to say, now, we’re being told it has to be sent to (Washington, D.C.),” Middlebrook said. “To me, in my opinion, smacks of political string-pulling.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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